Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Barrow Burn unenclosed hut circle settlement, 300m north of Yearning Crag

A Scheduled Monument in Harbottle, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3293 / 55°19'45"N

Longitude: -2.1453 / 2°8'43"W

OS Eastings: 390876.037588

OS Northings: 603922.806538

OS Grid: NT908039

Mapcode National: GBR F6GT.BF

Mapcode Global: WHB0M.09PV

Entry Name: Barrow Burn unenclosed hut circle settlement, 300m north of Yearning Crag

Scheduled Date: 24 February 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017727

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28565

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Harbottle

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of an unenclosed hut circle settlement of
later prehistoric date, situated either side of a steep sike on a sheltered
north west facing slope. The settlement contains the remains of at least five
stone circular round houses varying in diameter from 6m to 7.5m. The hut
circles, which are of orthostatic construction, stand to an average height of
0.8m. All five of the houses have a clear doorway visible in their south east
or western sides. The three most easterly hut circles represent the earliest
phase of the settlement which it is thought expanded through time. There are
traces of low walling attached to, and in the vicinity of, some of the hut
circles. This walling is interpreted as the visible remains of small yards or
paddocks associated with the settlement.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are
visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were
timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights
used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as
a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can
only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level
stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between
one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the
platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the
contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated
with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or
indicated by groups of clearance cairns.
Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it
is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early
Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed
and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the
same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument
types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation
and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed hut circle settlement by Barrow Burn is very well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits. It will add greatly to our
knowledge and understanding of Bronze Age settlement and activity in the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Charlton, B, Fifty centuries of Peace and War, (1996), 23
Gates, A, 'Settlement in North Britain 1000BC - AD 1000' in Unenclosed Settlements in Northumberland, , Vol. 118, (1983), 124

Source: Historic England

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